More than a pretty face

MODEL, MOTHER, AC­TOR AND FREE-SPIR­ITED FRENCH BEAUTY LAETI­TIA CASTA TALKS EX­CLU­SIVELY TO EW ABOUT FIND­ING HER PAS­SION FOR THEATRE AND THE TRUE IN­TER­PRE­TA­TION OF A BEAU­TI­FUL WOMAN

Emirates Woman - - Con­tents - Word s : Nina Catt

Laeti­tia Casta. More Than A Pretty Face:

It’s 3pm in Cannes, France and Laeti­tia Casta has just touched down from Paris. She’s in town for the pres­ti­gious Cannes film fes­ti­val and, with­out an ounce of make-up and dressed down in a pink knit and jeans, she ex­udes nat­u­ral beauty. We meet on the bal­cony of a suite at the fa­mous Ho­tel Bar­rière Le Ma­jes­tic. Just be­low us, the red car­pet awaits the hus­tle and bus­tle of celebri­ties and film buffs who will later walk up the il­lus­tri­ous steps into the Palais des Fes­ti­vals for the evening’s screen­ings. As we talk about the stun­ning set­ting of the Prom­e­nade de la Croisette and the glo­ri­ous south­ern French weather, Laeti­tia’s calm and com­posed de­meanour be­comes ap­par­ent as we set­tle into our con­ver­sa­tion. “I’m a na­ture girl at heart,” says the 39-year-old for­mer Vic­to­ria’s Se­cret An­gel as she cites her orig­i­nal home­town of Nor­mandy as the place she es­capes to with her new hus­band, ac­tor Louis Gar­rel, when in need of a breather from the hec­tic city life of Paris.

She started her mod­el­ling ca­reer at the age of 15 after a pho­tog­ra­pher spot­ted her on the is­land of Cor­sica while hol­i­day­ing with her par­ents and two sib­lings. Casta’s non-con­ven­tional rep­u­ta­tion quickly sky­rock­eted (she’s known for her strong fem­i­nist val­ues and for re­fus­ing to suc­cumb to stereo­typ­i­cal model ideals such as hav­ing a per­fect Hol­ly­wood smile), land­ing her cov­eted cam­paigns with ma­jor beauty brands and fash­ion houses such as Vivi­enne West­wood and Jean-Paul Gaultier as well as be­ing named the ‘hottest woman in the world’, thanks to a Rolling Stone mag­a­zine cover in 1988. She also starred in a string of mu­sic videos for the likes of Ri­hanna and Sting while turn­ing her at­ten­tion to act­ing.

“I never wanted to be a model,” she says. “When I started to do movies I got re­ally pas­sion­ate about it. It was ac­tress Mar­i­anne Säge­brecht who told me early on if I wanted to be an ac­tress to only do it if I had fire in­side my stom­ach and if I didn’t have that, then I shouldn’t. Well, I did. With film I was able to ex­press my­self in a way I could never have imag­ined. It was like open­ing a door to some­thing re­ally pro­found within my­self.” She es­tab­lished a name for her­self ap­pear­ing in French films and tele­vi­sion shows. Her most crit­i­cally ac­claimed role was her por­trayal of the young

“AFTER ONE SHOW, A WOMAN CAME TO ME AND TOLD ME MY CHAR­AC­TER HAD IN­SPIRED HER TO MAKE A HUGE LIFE DE­CI­SION. I CAN ONLY HOPE IT WAS A GOOD ONE!”

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